Erdogan, Macron agree to resume talks aimed at mending ties

The Turkish and French presidents already exchanged letters

Diplomatic tensions have been accompanied by a bitter personal feud between the two men

The Turkish and French presidents have exchanged letters in which they have agreed to meet and resume talks aimed at mending ties.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a New Year message to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, expressing condolences for several attacks in France last year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by local media on Friday. In return, Macron sent back a “very positive” letter this week, starting with the greeting “Dear Tayyip” and saying he was open to a meeting.

“President Macron expresses the importance of Turkey for Europe and his will to develop positive ties with Turkey as well as to meet our president in the coming period,” Cavusoglu said.

Macron’s response proposed collaboration over “bilateral consultations, terrorism, regional issues such as Syria and Libya, and a partnership on education”, the Turkish official added.

The French presidency confirmed the exchange of letters without providing details.

“We now need tangible gestures from Ankara," the French presidency said.

The European Union is now drawing up an expanded list of Turkish individuals to sanction for Ankara’s decision to drill for natural gas in eastern Mediterranean waters near Cyprus.

Last year, Ankara and Paris sparred over a host of international issues, including the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. The diplomatic tensions have been accompanied by a bitter personal feud between the two men.

At a meeting with EU leaders, Macron even remarked that Turks “deserve something else” than the policies of Erdogan. Later, in October, Macron said Islam was a religion “in crisis” globally, triggering a harsh response in the Muslim world, which called for a boycott of French products.

Erdogan joined the call and said, on two different occasions, that Macron needed a mental health checkup.

He also accused Macron of “Islamaphobia” and urged French voters to “get rid of Macron as soon as possible”.

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